By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc narrowed its fourth-quarter forecast on Monday following concerns on Wall Street that demand was not improving as much as previously expected.
The company, seen as a barometer of the chip industry because it makes components for a variety of markets, said in a statement that it now estimates earnings of 44 cents to 48 cents per share on revenue of $2.92 billion to $3.04 billion for the quarter ending in December.
Texas Instruments previously estimated earnings per share of 42 to 50 cents on revenue of $2.86 billion to $3.10 billion for the December quarter.
Analysts had expected fourth-quarter revenue of $2.988 billion and earnings at 46 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"The quarter really is tracking consistently with our expectations, at a company level as well as within major product lines," investor relations senior executive Ron Slaymaker said on a conference call with analysts on Monday.
Texas Instruments' previous fourth-quarter forecast, given in October, was less than expected by analysts and underscored concerns about spotty demand for chips for cars, appliances, computers and industrial products.
The Dallas-based company has been among several U.S. chipmakers in recent months to give forecasts that disappointed investors expecting a stronger recovery. While the world economy remains soft, buyers see little reason to put in new orders to build up inventories of chips for use in cars, equipment, laptops and smartphones, analysts say.
"There isn't an inventory excess or an inventory depletion," said Williams Financial analyst Cody Acree. "That has been a bit of an adjustment given that some chip companies and investors had set the tone for more optimism."
Shares of Texas Instruments dipped 0.25 percent in extended trading after closing up 0.21 percent at $43.58.